Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Obama Appointees Pressuring Immigration Officers To Rubber Stamp Visas

According to this AP story citing a Homeland Security report and internal documents, President Obama's appointees within U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services are pressuring rank-and-file officers to rubber-stamp immigrants’ visa applications, sometimes against the officers’ will and even when fraud or security questions are involved:

A 40-page report, drafted by the Office of Inspector General in September but not publicly released, details the immense pressure immigration service officers are under to approve visa applications quickly, sometimes while overlooking concerns about fraud, eligibility or security.

One-quarter of the 254 officers surveyed said they have been pressured to approve questionable cases, sometimes “against their will.”

The report does not call out any particular officials and indicates that the agency has had a problem with valuing quantity over quality since at least the 1980s.

But high-ranking USCIS officials said the pressure has heightened after the Obama administration appointed Alejandro Mayorkas as director in August 2009 during an effort to pass comprehensive immigration reform, bringing with him a mantra of “get to yes.”

Internal communications provided to The Daily indicate that the new leadership seemed to fundamentally clash with career agency employees over when to afford the benefit of the doubt, culminating in a whistle-blower investigation into a senior appointee and, ultimately, the agency-wide inspector general inquiry that produced the report.

“We recognize their right to interpret things as liberally as possible, but you still have to follow the law,” said one high-ranking official who was unhappy with the current push.

At least five agency veterans seen as being too tough on applicants were either demoted, or given the choice between a demotion or a relocation from Southern California — where their families were — to San Francisco and Nebraska, according to sources and letters of reassignment provided to The Daily.

Those kind of threats have caused lower-level employees to fall in line, sources said.

“People are afraid,” said one longtime manager, who requested anonymity for fear of being fired. “Integrity only carries people so far because they’ve got to pay the rent.”

A rank-and-file officer who was not involved in the investigation claimed he was demoted to working on less technical cases because he had a high denial rate. “They don’t reprimand you, they just move you,” he said.

And here's a fact that will warm your heart. Immigration attorneys, who represent these visa applicants are very happy ( naturally) at the increased approvals, but complain that a lot of immigration officers are just looking for reasons to deny a case, and already demand a higher standard of proof than what is required.

The standard of proof that's required? A 51 percent likelihood that a fact is true.

Tell me...how would you like to be able to be judged by that standard as a citizen when it comes to traffic court or the IRS?


Anonymous said...

This has nothing to do with Obama's appointees. As Officers, we began dealing with this under Bush. Things are starting to get better, as a result of the new administration but we have a long way to go. Too bad the media can't get their facts straight!

Rob said...

Ah, another Astroturfer For Obama.

I would bet my dollar to your dime that:

a) You're not a border patrol officer

b) you work for the Obama campaign in some capacity.

Also, your response that 'Bush did it too' is a meaningless response that would be laughed at if a ten-year-old tried it. The issue is the way the Obama Administration is operating, now, today.

And as my readers know, I've posted too many stories about the Administration failing to enforce deportation orders, filing decline to prosecute briefs in deportation cases and the president's enforcement of the DREAM act by executive order after it couldn't get through Congress for you to get away with this kind of lame bolshoi. And let's not forget Fast and Furious, hmm? Just do a search on this site under illegal aliens.

Tell David Axelrod I said hello.